ORPHIC FRAGMENT 187 - OTTO KERN

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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

SUMMARY: Ártæmis (Ἄρτεμις), while herself not fettered with marriage, frees women from all the difficulties of childbirth. 

187. (137) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος 404 b p. 106, 10 Pasqu.:

ἐπεὶ ἥ γε Ἄρτεμις ἡ ἐν αὐτῆι καὶ ἡ Ἀθηνᾶ τὴν παρθενίαν ἀεὶ τὴν αὐτὴν διασώιζουσι· καὶ γὰρ ἡ μὲν κατὰ τὸ μόνιμον αὐτῆς, ἡ δὲ κατὰ τὸ ἐπιστρεπτικὸν χαρακτηρίζεται· τὸ δὲ γεννητικὸν μέσην ἐν αὐτῆι τάξιν ἔλαχεν. ἐπιθυμεῖν δ᾽ αὐτὴν τῆς παρθενίας φασίν, ἐπειδὴ τὸ εἶδος αὐτῆς ἐν τῆι ζωιογόνωι περιέχεται πηγῆι, καὶ νοεῖ τὴν πηγαίαν ἀρετὴν καὶ ὑφίστησι τὴν ἀρχικὴν καὶ ἀναγωγόν, καὶ τὴν ἔνυλον ἀτιμάζει πᾶσαν μεῖξιν, καίτοι ἐφορῶσα τοὺς καρποὺς τῆς τοιαύτης ἐνύλου μίξεως·

ἀτελής <τε> γάμων καὶ ἄπειρος ἐοῦσα
παιδογόνου λοχίης πάσης ἀνὰ πείρατα λύει,*

φησὶν Ὀρφεύς· καὶ ἔοικεν τὰς μὲν γενέσεις καὶ τὰς προόδους τῶν πραγμάτων ἐκτρέπεσθαι, τὰς δὲ τελειότητας ἐπιφέρειν αὐτοῖς, καὶ τὰς μὲν ψυχὰς διὰ τῆς κατ᾽ ἀρετὴν ζωῆς τελεσιουργεῖν, τοῖς δὲ θνητοῖς ζώιοις τὴν εἰς τὸ εἶδος ἀποκατάστασιν χορηγεῖν. 

“...since the Diana (Ἄρτεμις) and the Minerva (Ἀθηνᾶ) which she (Περσεφόνη) contains preserve their virginity always the same. For the former of these is characterized according to her stability, but the latter according to her convertive energy. But that which is generative is allotted in her a middle order. They say too, that she aspires after virginity, since the form of her is comprehended in the vivific fountain, and she understands fontal virtue, gives subsistence to supermundane and anagogic virtue, and despises all material sexual connexion, though she inspects the fruits arising from it.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816)

“ ‘While free of and unacquainted with marriage,
She (Ἄρτεμις) frees from all the snares of childbearing,’ Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) says.” * (trans. JVK, this sentence only) 

“She appears also to be averse to the generations and progressions of things, but to introduce perfections to them. And she gives perfection indeed to souls through a life according to virtue; but to mortal animals she imparts restitution to form.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816) 

NOTE: Próklos (Πρόκλος) here is actually talking about Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη), but the Orphic fragment quoted is obviously referring to Ártæmis (Ἄρτεμις), who Próklos sees, at least in this action, as a manifestation of Pærsæphónî. 

*This quotation apparently missing in the ancient text used by Thomas Taylor.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).


PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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